Papillon Dog Breed Information Guide with Pictures

Cute Papillon Puppy

Papillon dog breed information profile includes pictures, history, temperament, personality, appearance, size, lifespan, health, grooming, care and training of Papillon dogs and puppies.

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All About Papillons

If you are looking for a small dog breed with the beauty and grace of a butterfly, a heart of gold, and a level of intelligent far above many other small breeds of dog, the Papillon may be the dog breed for you. This ancient breed of Italian heritage has been a favorite of the privileged for many centuries, and has since pranced his tiny way into the hearts and homes of small dog lovers world wide.

Papillon Facts

Papillon Dog Head ShotThe Papillon, also called the Continental Toy Spaniel, is a breed of dog of the Spaniel type. One of the oldest of the toy spaniels, it derives its name from its characteristic butterfly-like look.

Life span: 13 – 15 years
Temperament: Alert, Energetic, Friendly, Hardy, Happy, Intelligent
Mass: Male: 3.6 – 4.5 kg (Adult), Female: 3.2 – 4.1 kg (Adult)
Height: Male: 20 – 28 cm (Adult, Female), Female: 20 – 28 cm (Adult, Male)
Colors: Brown & White, Fawn & White, White, Red & White, Sable, Black & White
Good with children: No
Non Shedding: No

Papillon History

Once a favorite pet of French and Spanish nobility, the Papillon is thought to have originated in Italy. The breed type has remained true for more than 700 years, and this unique breed has been portrayed in works of art dating back at least that long.

Papillon Appearance

Pretty Papillon DogPapillon means “butterfly” in French – a name likely given the breed thanks to it’s ears, which, when erect resemble the butterfly. The white blaze that runs down the top of this dog’s head adds to the butterfly appearance.

If you are thinking about adding a Papillon to your family, you can be assured of getting a very dainty, lively, clean and affectionate pet, measuring from just eight to 11 inches at the shoulder. It’s fine, soft and silky coat is white with patches of any color or tri-color (black and white with tan markings).

The nose, eyes and lips are black, and the gorgeous tail is thickly plumed and carried proudly over the body. To watch a Papillon move, one gets the impression of a proud little dog that literally prances.

Papillons are known for their very large, butterfly-like ears. Papillons are parti-colored (white with markings of any color). An all white dog or a dog with no white is disqualified from the conformation show ring.

Papillons can be registered with AKC as the following colors:

* Black and White Papillon
* Fawn and White Papillon
* Lemon Papillon
* White & Red Papillon
* Sable Papillon
* Tri color Papillon (which is the least common color of this breed)

Papillon Dog Breed PictureThe most distinctive aspect of the Papillon is its large ears, which are well fringed with colored (not white) silky fur. The color covers both eyes and the front and back of the ears to give the ideal butterfly look. A white blaze and noseband is preferred over a solid-colored head. Nose, eye-rims, and lips should be black. Paw pads vary in color from black or pink depending on the coloring of the dog.

There are two ear variations of this breed, the completely upright ears of the more common Papillon, and the dropped spaniel-like ears of the Phalene. The American Kennel Club and the Federation Cynologique Internationale consider the Phalene and the Papillon the same breed.

The Papillon coat is abundant, long, and silky. There is no undercoat. Ears are well-fringed with the inside covered with silken fur of medium length. Tail is long, well-fringed, set on high, arched over back with fringes falling to side to form plume.

The head is slightly rounded between the ears, and the muzzle is fine, tapering, and narrower than the skull with an abrupt stop. Height: 20-28 cm (8-11 inches), over 11 inches is a fault and over 12 inches is a disqualification from the conformation show ring. Weight: 7-10 pounds (3.5 kg), but they can also get to (14- 16), pounds at the heaviest.

Papillon Temperament

If you’ve been throwing your money away in therapy, the Papillon may just be what you need. These small, intelligent dogs are the psychotherapists of the dog world! Highly attentive and great listeners, most Papillon dogs display the amazing ability to empathize with their owners mood and circumstances, providing a canine “emotional crutch” that for some has been far more effective (and inexpensive!) than Prozac or the Psychiatrists couch.

As if this trait weren’t enough to have the Papillon voted the world’s most wonderful dog, the breed is lively and cheerful, but not demanding as some breeds can be. The Papillon is happy to share both joy and sorrow with it’s owners; surely the ultimate companion – whether canine or not.

Papillon Exercise Info

Trio of Cute Papillon DogsDespite the dainty appearance and diminutive stature, the Papillon has “big dog” athletic abilities. Some owners say the Papillon is a “big dog” in a little dog’s suit; ready, willing and able to take on a 5 mile walk, run or hike. Papillons are a very old breed, and as such are not riddled with the health problems associated with many more modern breeds.

That being said, Papillons from any source other than a highly responsible, reputable breeder may not possess this vitality and vigor. As with all popular purebred dog breeds, puppy mills and back yard breeders breeding Papillons (among other breeds) are in existence throughout North America, and generally produce inbred, unhealthy, genetically diseased and ill-tempered puppies from dogs that are kept in inhumane environments.

Choose your breeder wisely, ensuring that you only consider purchasing a Papillon puppy from a breeder who is highly knowledgeable about the breed, and breeds only the best to the best in an effort to produce puppies that are healthy, sound, conformationally correct and well-socialized.

Papillon Grooming Info

Papillon Dogs PhotoDespite what you may surmise from admiring the undeniably glamorous Papillon, grooming is a walk in the park. A “wash and wear” dog breed, the Papillon really does not require a great deal of grooming. An occasional bath and a few brushings each week will keep your Papillon’s long, silky coat as shiny as his personality.

As with other breeds, you’ll want to trim your Papillon’s nails regularly, clean inside his ears with an acidifying cleanser, and (of course) brush his teeth to help keep doggie breath and gum disease at bay.

Papillon Training Info

Highly intelligent and eager to please, the Papillon is one of the easiest small dog breeds to train.

As with all dog breeds, it’s best to start early and be consistent, lavishing praise and a few tasty treats when your Papillon does good, and interrupting unwanted behavior, without drawing too much attention to it. Papillons thrive on attention from their owners, so praise is like attention on steroids to this charming little dog.

The athletic Papillon can also be trained for agility; and activity that these “little big dogs” attack with gusto.

Papillon Health Info

Sweet Papillon PuppyThe Papillon is a healthy, long lived breed of dog with few, if any health problems. This vitality and longevity can be attributed to the age of this breed; the Papillon dog breed dates back many centuries.

That having been said, it’s always of utmost importance that you acquire your Papillon puppy from a reputable, responsible breeder, knowledgeable about the breed and dog breeding in general.

Puppy Mills and back yard breeders are everywhere, and the Papillon is among the hundreds of popular dog breeds exploited by these inhumane and irresponsible breeders.

Don’t be fooled by posh pet stores selling puppies dolled up like babies for astronomical prices; you can bet on the fact that these puppies come from puppy mills at worst, or back yard breeders at best, and you’ll be taking a big gamble on the health, temperament and longevity of any puppy purchased from these sources. You’ll also be supporting an industry that profits from the torture and neglect of defenseless dogs and puppies.

Please choose your breeder wisely, ensuring that your breeder treats her breeding dogs as members of the family, and breeds out of love for the breed, rather than profit. Your Papillon breeder should be knowledgeable about the breed, ensure that breeding dogs are healthy and free of inheritable disorders that could crop up in the puppies, and raise her puppies in the home with love and gentle handling.

A reputable breeder will stand behind the health and temperament of her puppies with a a reasonable health guarantee, and will want to make sure that you are a responsible puppy buyer ready to make a firm commitment to taking on a canine companion. Don’t settle for anything less. A responsible breeder may have a waiting list for her puppies, but you can be assured that the puppy you receive will be well worth the wait.

Is a Papillon the Right Breed of Small Dog For You?

Papillon PuppyThe Papillon makes an excellent family pet for any size accommodation and is ideally suited to the stay-at-home. Regular brushing and the occasional bath are all the grooming required, and exercise needs are minimal. Because of the breed’s diminutive size and stature, the Papillon is not suited to households with children under 6 years of age. Loyal, loving and protective, Papillons make good watch dogs, too!

More Information about the Papillon Dog Breed